Sicily is a land of sun, solar energy and innovation. This is because it was in this region of southern Italy, with the most sunlight in Europe, that the mother of new renewable sources took its first steps – thanks to Enel.

“In Sicily, we built Eurelios, the first concentrated solar plant in the world, in 1981, and the first photovoltaic plant in Italy in 1984.”

It was a time when renewable energies were still generically called “alternative energy sources”. In those years, with foresight and courage, our Passo Martino research centre was founded in Catania.

The story of the Innovation Lab started in 1980, when Enel took part in the foundation of Phoebus, a company using the Sicilian site for solar energy research, specifically photovoltaic and thermal.

Almost immediately expanding its field of interest and study to all renewable energies and energy saving, the centre focused on energy efficiency in buildings and on the design and testing of photovoltaic plants in the 1990s.

In 2015, the Passo Martino laboratory definitively became the Enel Innovation Lab it is today, and was integrated into the Innovation and Sustainability unit of Enel Green Power.

“Today, the Enel Innovation Lab at Passo Martino is the centre of a network of partnerships and collaborations working to explore new energy frontiers, where renewable energies are combined with Big Data, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality.”

The intuition we had almost 40 years ago laid the groundwork for the “green” revolution that is now transforming the world. We’ve continued to pursue it without stopping, keeping on the path we started at the dawn of renewable energies, always as pioneers of innovation.


The structure of the Passo Martino Innovation Lab is that of a technological campus and an entrepreneurial accelerator, a laboratory that is open to start-ups, research centres and companies to stimulate innovation and provide a shared space for those imagining the energy of tomorrow today